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Old 11-13-2008, 06:54 AM   #40
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Talking Kei set to play in Mark Knowles Celebrity Tennis Invitational

By GUEST WRITER, For the Guardian

The 8th Annual Mark Knowles Celebrity Tennis Invitational is scheduled to be held from December 5-7 at the Atlantis Tennis Center on Paradise Island. The event will get underway on December 5 at 3.30 p.m.

Knowles has hosted many of the top players on the ATP and WTA tennis circuits and the Invitational keeps going from strength to strength. Amongst the many attendees have been Andre Agassi, James Blake, Bob and Mike Bryan, Jim Courier, Robbie Ginepri, Tommy Haas, Fred Stolle, Jennifer Capriati and Nicole Vaidisova.

The proceeds of the event go to aid local children's charities such as the Cancer Society, the Sassoon (Bahamas) Foundation for Pediatric Heart Care, the Special Olympics, the Association for the Physically Disabled and the Mark Knowles Tennis Scholarship Fund. To date, over $300,000 have been distributed to various charities.

Some of the major sponsors include Kerzner International, the Ministry of Youth & Sports, American Airlines, Bristol Cellars, Everkey Global Fund, H3O, Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch Private Bank & Trust, Little Switzerland and Templeton Global Advisors. There are a few sponsorship opportunities available and interested parties should contact Vicky Andrews at vickyk@batelnet.bs or cell number 357-9670.

This year, one of the standouts in the celebrity lineup will be Kei Nishikori, the 18-year-old Japanese phenom, who became the youngest player in the Top 100 and is the face of tennis in Japan, a country of 127 million people. He is poised to become one of the ATP's biggest stars and his press conferences are standing room only. His every move during the recent Japan Open Tennis Championships in September was recorded on film by camera crews.

Nishikori rocketed to fame in February of this year by winning the Delray Beach Championships defeating James Blake in the final. He had a great U.S. Open in September recording wins over Juan Monaco and David Ferrer.

Nishikori was handpicked from Japan in 2004 to train at the Bollettieri Academy in Florida as a member of the Masaaki Morita Tennis Fund group, which is sponsored by Mr. Morita, CEO of Sony. This is the academy where Mark Knowles also received his early training to pursue his career as a professional tennis champion.

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